Letters to the Editor week of 11-1-07


Veterans Day

Dear Editor:

 I recently had someone ask me why Veterans Day was spelled without an apostrophe. As a former English teacher, I naturally was interested in the answer. An apostrophe shows ownership and the word veterans ending in “S”, refers to more than one. After some research, I found that the holiday is named for veterans and not owned by veterans. So there is no apostrophe to show ownership, because the day is to honor the 25,000,000 living veterans who make up fewer that 10 percent of the population of the United States. Veterans don’t own this day, but rather should be recognized on this day by all. 

Also recently, I have had the opportunity to be in audiences of government leaders such as President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and former Senator Dole, who all addressed issues concerning our military. I have spoken with members of the House and Senate and have sat through Veterans Affairs Committee hearings in Washington, D.C. The conversations always culminated with a discussion of veterans’ issues. In each and every case, there were differing views about our conducting the war in Iraq, but also, in each and every case there was a bipartisan agreement that our troops and our veterans need care and support.

There seems to be an urgency in Washington concerning the care of veterans, especially those with mental and physical scars. I was somewhat surprised but very appreciative of our politicians’ positions. As the day soon approaches that we honor the “Greatest generation to the Latest generation” of veterans, thanks should go to those who have worn and are still wearing the uniforms of our country. 

Darrell Hansel

National Executive Committee

Department of Indiana

The American Legion

A black and white world?

To the Editor:

Since my return from South Africa nearly three weeks ago, I was really enjoying and appreciating this community where I spent my childhood. I was enjoying the beautiful color changes brought about by the season. I was enjoying the reflections cast by the glossy Ohio River. I was enjoying the friendliness of locals and the euphoria of meeting old friends. I was feeling very welcomed after my two years in the Peace Corps. I was feeling at home.

Then I went to the Switzerland County Public Library and my eyes were abruptly opened. My eyes were opened to just how far we have to go in the way we treat people. My eyes were opened to how easily people forget that how we go about dealing with issues is often more important than the outcome of that issue. My eyes were opened to realize how sad the world is should w e choose to view it through the narrow scope of a black and white lens.

I was visiting the library a couple of weeks ago when an issue arose that motivated me to write this article. I had been using the computers for that previous week to do some online job hunting, to update my resume, and to do other job-related tasks. My brother and some close friends had given me their library card numbers and informed me that there was a 1.5 hour time limit per person per day for computer use. I was extremely grateful for their offers because the prescribed 90-minutes was not providing nearly enough time to do the things I was trying to do. A single job search and application took at least that amount of time and I was searching thousands.

I was on the computer when I was approached by one librarian and asked how I’d managed to stay on for so long. I told her that I had used other family and friends’ numbers. She then proceeded to tell me that “I needed to log off, right now.” I was never approached kindly. I was never asked. I was treated like a possible suspect who was refusing orders from a police officer. I felt embarrassed as this demand was made in the presence of others.

After logging off I was approached by the same librarian again, who had since investigated, like a crime scene detective, whose names I had used to commit my crime. I was told that if I used their numbers again, we would all lose our computer privileges.

I felt my situation was unique. I tried to explain why I needed the computers. I asked if their was any flexibility in the policy. I wondered why it was such a big deal to get my time extended at a time when the library, and its computers, were barely being used. After seeing that she, and perhaps the policy itself, viewed my issue as black and white, I gave up my efforts at constructive dialogue and didn’t even attempt to explain that I had just spent my last 27 months in Africa with very limited computer access. She was not open for logical, rational discussion. Policy was policy. Black was black and white was white. Case closed.

I write this not to ask for special treatment. I do, however, expect that in a public place (i.e. The Switzerland County Public Library), policies should be written to address the colorful spectrum of issues that will arise, issues such as mine. Life is definitely not only black and white, and policy should reflect that. I do expect to be treated with respect and not like the common criminal. I do expect that our librarians know their role as just that, not as police officers or crime scene detectives.

I understand that my case might be an isolated event, but I have my doubts. In my discussions with several locals, many have felt unwelcome at their public library. I am therefore asking the public to contact me at 919-619-6178 or by email at andrewgoiu@yahoo.com if you have had issues related to the one I experienced. I will gladly present your issues to the library’s board of directors.

One interesting thing happened just as I was preparing to leave. A lady walked in with a pot-bellied pig and it was squealing as pigs normally do. The librarians, including the one who had approached me earlier, stood around it and laughed. I thought to myself . . . “what’s the policy on animals in the library?”

Andrew Ross

Near Florence